Review: Epson Artisan 50 CIS (CISS) Continuous Ink System

Review: Epson Artisan 50

with continuous inking system (CIS, CISS).

Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer - about to be put to good use with a CIS, CISS, CI system.

CI System (CISS) and printer bundle here.

Great printer – 6-color photo printer, small form factor, outstanding prints, just a great 4×6, 8.5×11 top quality photo printer.  Will also do legal size paper, and prints to CDs and DVDs with included tray.  Professional quality photos – and when combined with a CI system, a perfect everyday printer for all kinds of documents.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished inkjet printer from the Epson.com website.

Detailed specifications available on Epson’s website:

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/consumer/consDetail.jsp?oid=63083139

The Artisan 50 replaced the Epson Stylus Photo R260, R280 (260, 280) as the only 6-color letter size “just-a-printer” offering from Epson.  Every other 6-color Epson printer  is a multi-function printer (Artisan 700, 710, 800, 810), or large format (1400, R1900).

Epson Artisan 50 with CIS, CISS, continuous ink (inking) system (solution).

The elusive refurbished Artisan 50 6-color printer with CI system – $59.00 at the Epson store.

When you can catch it – man they sell fast.  The refurbished printers include the same warranty as a new printer, and we have been happy with the quality.  You can also purchase new for $93-$99 from Amazon.

Price:

$60-$120

Features:

Short specs on the Artisan 50:

  • 4″ x 6″ photos as fast as 11 sec
  • Ultra Hi-Definition photos
  • CD/DVD Printing
  • 4.8 ppm black  – 5 ppm color
  • 6 (six) Individual ink cartridges
  • Dye based Claria inks
  • Prints from (4×6) to legal size (8.5×14)

This is just a printer.  There are no multi-function capabilities, and it will not print larger than legal size paper.  Great for what it does, but if you need a fax or a scanner, look elsewhere.

What About The Cartridges:

T078 – T077

The T078 and T077 (high capacity) ink cartridges cracked open and compared - which one has the most ink, and by how much?

The T078 and T077 (high capacity) ink cartridges cracked open and compared - the T078 has airspace! The T077 is completely full.

We cracked these cartridges open for a look a while back, you can see pictures and read more here:

http://freedomtoprint.com/2009/04/16/review-epson-t078-and-t077-ink-cartridges-cracked-open/

Cartridges for the Epson Artisan 50 are priced out of the stratosphere – the printer uses six (6) individual ink cartridges.  Epson plays the same full vs. half-full cartridge game as HP and Lexmark.  There are two cartridges you can use in this printer; the “half-full”T078, or the “full” T077 series.

Epson even puts a sticker on the inside of the printer so there is no confusion.

Epson T078 T077 Cartridge Numbers Printed On Inside Of Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer

T078 series “standard capacity”

– or what they really mean (half-full).  These cartridges contain Epson Claria dye based inks.  One for each color, and black; the T078 series cartridge contains about 7-8ml of ink.  Average price of $13-$14 per cartridge, or $75.00 for a full set.

T077 series “high capacity”

– or the more correct term (mostly-full), available through the Epson store.  You can sometimes find them on Amazon – here. Cartridges contain Claria dye based inks.  One for each color, and black; T077 series cartridge contains about 11-12ml of ink.  Average price of $20 per cartridge.  A full set of the T077 cartridges will run you $95.00 minimum.

Cartridges? Who cares…

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished refurb inkjet printer with CI system (CIS, CISS)

We really don’t care what the cartridge situation is – this printer was born to use a CIS, or CISS (continuous ink (inking) system).  The only thing interesting about the Epson cartridges is how many we will *not* have to purchase over the life of this printer.  This lets us focus on paper – Epson paper is quality stuff, however we think Red River Paper is the same quality and about half the price.

Ink and paper products for the Artisan 50 photo inkjet printer from Epson

Installation:

Consist of these few steps (all covered in the included instructions):

  1. Equalize ink levels (tilt ink supply reservoir forward)
  2. Remove shipping plugs – (replace with breathers)
  3. Remove printer cartridge cover*
  4. install CIS cartridges and route tubing
  5. Trick “lid-open” latch (q-tip works great)*

*3.) This step is not difficult, however knowing how to remove the cartridge cover saves a few coins from the swear jar. The cover must be removed with a CI system so the tubing can escape, and the cover would not close anyway. The cover is not needed, it gets in the way, and it does not hurt the printer to remove it.  Off it comes.  See our install video for a working example.

Removing the cartridge cover – not hard if you know *where* to pry.  Upper right-hand corner of the print head – remove the hinge with a flat head screwdriver. *Then* the cover is ready to come off.

Where to pry the cover off an Epson Artisan 50 inkjet printer for use with a CI System, or CISS, CIS, Bulk Ink.

Epson Artisan 50 cartridge cover hinge, clip and where to pry or place the screwdriver

Press cartridges down firmly to seat. Epson Artisan 50.

5.) This printer is perfect for use with a CI system.  There is plenty of clearance inside the printer for the tubing to run free, and the printer is easily tricked concerning the “lid is open” message with a q-tip.

q-tip open cover hack for Epson stylus photo Artisan 50

Ready to print!

At this point run a few test prints and see if you want the external inks on the left or the right, or maybe you want the ink tank in the back?  By running some test prints we can see how the tubing behaves and decide the best position for the external tank.

This printer has 6 colors, and produces incredible photos.  We ran off 15 or so photos on some Epson and Red River glossy and matte papers, and our prints all looked fantastic.

The Artisan 50, and most Epson 6-color photo printers less than $300, use a dye based ink – so colors are brighter and more defined.  Our CI system has dye inks as well, and they look perfect.  Nice to be able to print without having to worry about the ink price.

Installation video (instructions):

We decided the external tank should go on the left, but we might change our minds.

Installing the system is easy enough…

CD-DVD printing:

Popular choice among CD-DVD printers.

The Epson Artisan 50 6-color inkjet photo printer will also print directly to CDs and-or DVDs.  Make sure to get the “inkjet printable” recordable media, and print directly on the media – no more labels!

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished refurb CD-DVD tray insterted and ready for printing

The coolest CD-DVD printing we have seen was with the Artisan 700-710-800-810 series; so cool we made a video.  The CD-DVD tray is stored inside the printer – much harder to lose this way.

With the Artisan 50 CD-DVD printing is easy with the included CD-DVD print tray.  The media sits on the plastic tray, and once lined up, it is sucked into the printer were the media is printed to.  Works fine, but take your time lining up the tray, and whatever you do, don’t lose it.  Must use the bundled Epson CD-DVD printing software utility to print CDs or DVDs.

Epson Artisan 50 refurbished inkjet printer with CD-DVD tray inside printer during printing

Video of the CD-DVD printing process:

Takes about 3-4 minutes to print a CD or DVD, but the results are fantastic!

Plenty of room inside this printer…

Epson ink monitor is still watching you…

Epson Artisan 50 ink monitor image

The Artisan 50 is really perfect for a CI system.  The print head is of the same family as the old R200, R220, R340, R320, RX620, RX600 series.  The quality of prints is fantastic, and the CI system has plenty of room to operate inside the Artisan 50.

What to do when the cartridge runs out of ink?

There are chips on the end of each cartridge – these chips “keep tabs” on your estimated ink usage and will report empty at some point.  There are several ways to reset the ink levels, but with our system there is a button.  Press the red flashing button on the printer to get the print head to the “replace cartridge” location.  Simply press and hold the white button 3-4 seconds.  Now press the red flashing button on the printer  and your cartridges are now reset.

It is important to note – the cartridges cannot be reset at just any point – the Epson ink monitor must report out of ink (for any cartridge), and then a reset of all cartridges can be done.  Once reset, all chips report full cartridges.

Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer Refurbished CIS, CISS Ink System Custom - reset the cartridges when they indicate empty.

Notice these cartridges, the Epson T078, and T077 series inkjet cartridges, also work in the Epson Stylus Photo – R260, R280, R380, RX595, RX595, and RX680 series inkjet printers.

Ink quality:

We also tried some different papers.

Tried some Epson premium presentation matte (double sided) S041568 (it was ok), and some Epson high quality ink jet paper S041111 (not awesome).  We then tried some of our Red River paper sampler – a luster photo satin, and about 15 different glossy photo papers – color adjustments took some time, however we were pleased with the quality of the prints we saw. We have no problems recommending this system, and printer to anyone – the print quality is outstanding.

Conclusion:

Get it.  Well worth the price, and flexible.

If you are looking for a solid “just-a-printer” the Epson Artisan 50 is a very good choice – new or refurbished.  Low entry cost ($60-$129) for the printer, and a continuous inking system works fantastically well.  Lab quality photo prints, fast 4×6 photo prints, and when bundled with a (CIS, CISS) CI system the Artisan 50 inkjet photo printer becomes a great everyday use printer.

If you are planning on using Epson brand ink cartridges, all bets are off – the Epson brand ink is a killer.

Here is the refurbished printer link – Epson.com (or try Epson.ca) – $59.99

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/consumer/consDetail.jsp?oid=63088260

New printer – Epson.com website – $99.99.

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/consumer/consDetail.jsp?oid=63083139

And there is always Amazon…

Epson Artisan 50 CIS, CISS, inking systems.

The Epson Artisan 835 – $299 at Staples

Deal: Epson Artisan 810 $145.99

Epson Artisan 810 Inkjet Printer $169 At Amazon.comThis is a pretty good deal – Epson Artisan 810 $145.99

Buy.com has the Epson Artisan 810 inkjet printer for $145.99 – this is a very good price and on the extreme low end of pricing for new printers from Epson. The refurbished Artisan 8xx series sell for $109.00.

Why We Link The Artisan 810:

  • Excellent (cost per page) printer when combined with continuous ink system (CIS, CISS)
  • Wireless operation
  • 6-color photo printer
  • multi-function all in one (AIO)
  • 2-year warranty (when registered) from Epson

Link:

http://www.buy.com/pr/product.aspx?sku=211914873

Review: Opening The HP 98 Black Print Cartridge C9364W – Inside HP Ink Cartridge

Inside the HP 98 black inkjet print cartridge.

Avoid this cartridge if possible – HP 96, and HP 94 better value.

The HP 98 ink cartridge is a “half-full” black ink cartridge which is often paired with a tri-color cartridge (like the HP 97 – opened here, or the HP 95 cracked open here). The sponge inside this cartridge is the same size as the cartridge, so refilling is very simple.  Holes are already present.

Inside an HP, Hewlett Packard, inkjet print cartridge ink - HP 98 black low capacity black ink.

Cartridge Number Pages Retail Cost Per Print
HP 92 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (C9362W) 220 $14.99 .07
HP 98 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (C9364W) 420 $23.99 .06
HP 94 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (C8765W) 480 $23.99 .05
HP 96 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (C8767W) 860 $33.99 .04

You can take these page yield numbers with a grain of salt.  HP even admits as much:

Actual yield varies considerably based on content of printed pages and other factors. Some ink from included cartridge is used to start up the printer. For more information see: Inkjet page yields

A more realistic expectation on page yield for these cartridges is about half of what Hewlett Packard (HP) claims on their page yields above.  We also looked for “street” prices – prices you can expect to pay for these cartridges online:

Cartridge Number Pages Street Cost Per Print
HP 92 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (C9362W) 110 $13.19 .12
HP 98 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (C9364W) 210 $21.99 .11
HP 94 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (C8765W) 240 $20.82 .09
HP 96 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (C8767W) 430 $24.99 .06

So as you can see, if you need a black ink cartridge, make it the HP 94 cartridge, or even better, the HP 96 cartridge for the best value.

HP 98 black ink cartridge sponge. HP 98 ink cartridge - black sponge. HP 98 black ink cartridge - sponge refill removed.

Cartridge Specifications:

Color: Black
Part Number: HP 98 C9364W
Ink Type: Pigment based ink
HP 98 Ink Volume: 10ml*
Page Yield: 420 pages**

Ink Drop Size: 14.5pl

Retail price: $23.99
Street price: $21.97

** that 420 page estimate is from HP and based on 5% coverage (see what 5% coverage really looks like) – needless to say, manufacturer estimates are always on the “high side.” HP even admits as much…

This cartridge is often paired with the tri-color HP 95 (cracked open here), or the “high capacity” color 97 ink cartridge (cracked open here).

For You Refillers:

Inside an HP ink cartridge - The HP 98 black ink cartridge inside. HP 98 black ink cartridge refill hole locations. HP 98 black ink cartridge sponge - refill hole locations.

Refilling is easy if you know where to put the refilling needle. There are five (5) holes already in the cartridge lid which are covered up by the cartridge number sticker. As you can see from the other images, there is black ink around only three (3) of the holes. We suggest using one of those three (3) holes since they are closer to the ink exit point. All the other two holes are there to confuse refillers. This cartridge will hold around 18-21ml of ink, which is a good amount for a modern ink cartridge.

Where to refill the HP 98 black ink cartridge.

Contact! – Contact!

These solder points, or contacts help make up the print head. Printers that use these types of cartridges do not have an internal print head – rather the print head is located on the cartridges themselves. If print quality declines to the point where the cartridge is no longer usable, simply try another cartridge (it’s like getting a new printer). If your cartridge cannot be recognized, give the contacts a quick clean with a damp cloth, or other device and try again. If the contacts are harmed, the cartridge may not function at all.

HP 98 black ink cartridge cartridge contacts - solder points - copper leads.

The Print Head:

Unlike Epson, which makes the printhead part of the printer, Hewlett Packard (HP) puts the print head technology on the cartridge (for most of their consumer printers). This means every time you buy a new cartridge, it’s like getting a new printer. This is why these type of HP printers (that use this cartridge style) last forever in our opinion. As long as the mechanics of the printer keep working it will last forever since the print head can simply be replaced by installing a new cartridge into the printer.

Not all HP printers and cartridges use this style (print head on the cartridge) of build, but a large majority of the ones you will find at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and other discount (online) retailers use these cartridges.

Notice the 2D UPC code on the print head ribbon.

Print hed for the HP 98 black ink inkjet print cartridge - crcked open to reveal the inside of the cartridge.

Is this an embedded expiration date?

Yet another 2D UPC code on the outside front of the cartridge. So that is 3 total on a single cartridge. If (HP) Hewlett Packard went to the trouble of putting them on there, you can bet they are there for a reason. HP claims there is no built-in “self-destruct” expiration date for their cartridges. Read more about it here…

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01764161&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en

HP 98 black ink cartridge expiration date and serial number.

Specifications for the HP 98 (C9364W) black ink cartridge:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06c/A10-12771-64199-69422-69422-457365-457386-457390.html

Information about HP 98 black inkjet print cartridge page yields here:

http://h10060.www1.hp.com/pageyield/en-019/searchResults.html?cCode=us,st=cartridge,ss=98

Compatible with the following HP printers:

Several of these printers can take 2-3 different types of cartridges (both color and black), so make sure you know what your printer is capable of using.  The HP 92, HP 94, HP 96, and HP 98 are all black cartridges that may work in your printer.  Knowing which cartridge is the most full (best value) can help you determine what type of printer to purchase.

Review: Opening The HP 99 Photo Print Cartridge C9369W – Inside HP Ink Cartridge

Inside the HP 99 photo inkjet print cartridge.

Wanna print 6-color photos on your HP 4-color printer? HP has the answer, the HP 99 cartridge is designed to give the user 6-color photo prints when combined with a tri-color inkjet print color cartridge.

HP 99 photo color ink cartridge for (HP) Hewlett Packard inkjet printers.

A look inside the HP 99 ink cartridge – internal structure:

The HP 99 ink cartridge is a strange bird – designed to be used with a tr-color cartridge (like the HP 97 – opened here, or the HP 95 cracked open here)  to print 6-color photos with your HP printer.  This cartridge contains three (3) colors – black, photo cyan, and photo magenta.  This is *not* the cartridge you want for printing large volumes of text, or black only documents – since the black ink is inside this cartridge shares space with two (2) other colors, the back ink will run out quickly.

Removing the cartridge cover on the HP 99 photo color ink cartridge from Hewlett Packard - inkjet print cartridges.

Specifications:

Color: Black
Part Number: C9369W- HP 99 Photo
Ink Type: Dye based ink
HP 99 Ink Volume: 21ml*
Page Yield: 130 4×6 photos**

Ink Drop Size: 15pl

Retail price: $28.99
Street price: $13.18

*7ml per color (black, photo cyan, and photo magenta)

** that 130 page estimate is from HP and based on 5% coverage (see what 5% coverage really looks like) – needless to say, manufacturer estimates are always on the “high side.”

This cartridge is often paired with the HP 95, or HP 97 tri-color ink cartridge to offer 6-color photo printing.

For You Refillers:

Don’t remove the label – there are air channels on the top of the cartridge that need to be maintained – best way to refill is to just stick a syringe (needle) full of ink into one of the pre-drilled holes that are in the cartridge.

A look inside an HP ink cartridge - the HP 99 photo color ink cartridge. A look inside the internal structure of the (HP) Hewlett Packard ink cartridge - HP 99 photo ink. Hewlett Packard (HP) photo ink cartridge 99 - inside the ink cartridge, or where to refill your HP ink cartridge.

Refilling is easy if you know where to put the refilling needle.  There are five (5) holes already in the cartridge lid which are covered up by the cartridge number sticker.  As you can see from the other images, there is black ink around only three (3) of the holes. We suggest using one of those three (3) holes since they are closer to the ink exit point.  All the other two holes  are there to confuse refillers.  This cartridge will hold around 18-21ml of ink, which is a good amount for a modern ink cartridge.

Where to refill the HP 99 photo ink cartridge.

Contact! – Contact!

These solder points, or contacts help make up the print head.  Printers that use these types of cartridges do not have an internal print head – rather the print head is located on the cartridges themselves.  If print quality declines to the point where the cartridge is no longer usable, simply try another cartridge (it’s like getting a new printer).  If your cartridge cannot be recognized, give the contacts a quick clean with a damp cloth, or other device and try again.  If the contacts are harmed, the cartridge may not function at all.

Inside the HP Hewlett Packard - 99 picture photo ink cartridge.

The Print Head:

Unlike Epson, which makes the printhead part of the printer, Hewlett Packard (HP) puts the print head technology on the cartridge (for most of their consumer printers).  This means every time you buy a new cartridge, it’s like getting a new printer.  This is why these type of HP printers (that use this cartridge style) last forever in our opinion.  As long as the mechanics of the printer keep working it will last forever since the print head can simply be replaced by installing a new cartridge into the printer.

Not all HP printers and cartridges use this style (print head on the cartridge) of build, but a large majority of the ones you will find at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and other discount (online) retailers use these cartridges.

Notice the 2D UPC code on the print head ribbon.

Inside HP inkjet printer cartridges - a look inside the sealed ink cartridges from HP 99 photo color.

Is this an embedded expiration date?

Yet another 2D UPC code on the outside front of the cartridge.  So that is 3 total on a single cartridge.  If (HP) Hewlett Packard went to the trouble of putting them on there, you can bet they are there for a reason.  HP claims there is no built-in “self-destruct” expiration date for their cartridges.  Read more about it here…

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01764161&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en

HP 99 photo ink cartridge - expiration date, and serial number of the cartridge.

When to use this cartridge (HP 99):

Use this cartridge when printing photos only – the HP 99 photo cartridge is rated at 130 4×6 prints.  At its current price, this cartridge is not a bad deal for printing photos, however the photo quality will not be professional level (fine for home use).  If printing 130 photos at a time sounds daunting, try and preserve the cartridge for future use (using a cartridge clip, available on eBay or Amazon – or here) by removing it from the printer.  Easily refilled, but not practical for everyday use.

Note: cartridge clips are included with some refill kits like the InkTec brand.  Good kits in our experience.

Specifications for the HP 99 (C9369W) photo ink cartridge:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06c/A10-12771-64199-69422-69422-397452-397454-397458.html

Information about HP cartridge page yields here:

http://h10060.www1.hp.com/pageyield/en-019/searchResults.html?cCode=us,st=cartridge,ss=99

Hewlett Packard HP 99 sponge sponges ink cartridge cartridges.  Internal structure of the HP 99 ink cartridge.

Compatible with the following HP printers:

You can use this cartridge for photo printing, however avoid using this cartridge for everyday printing.  As mentioned above, this cartridge is only one-third (1/3) black ink – the other two chambers are for photo cyan, and photo magenta.

Deal: Refurb Canon Pixma MX860 MX 860 Wireless Printer – $69

It’s not enough to be just a “cheap printer.”  What are the ongoing costs of operation? What about the ink cartridges?

From Techbargians:

Canon PIXMA MX860 Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer (Refurb, Wifi, Duplex, ADF) $69.99

Newegg has the Refurbished Canon PIXMA MX860 Color Inkjet Multifunction Printer/Copier/Fax/Scanner for a low $69.99 after coupon code EMCYVNN49 (Exp 7/28). $3.99 Shipping. Tax in CA, NJ, TN, PR.

9600x2400dpi; 2.5″ color LCD; card reader; USB 2.0, ethernet, 802.11b/g wireless connectivity; automatic duplex (double-sided) printing; 15-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF)

Canon MX860 inkjet printer - wireless.

This is a good deal for several reasons – this printer is loaded with features. The print head for this printer is valued at $50.00, and the cartridges that are included are worth at least $50.00 (if purchased separately) – so this printer pays you to take it home.  Good feature set, and reliable operation. We have looked at this printer, and it is *not* a good candidate for a continuous inking system – there is not much clearance, and if you do decide to go CIS, CISS, some serious surgery will be required on this printer.

Note:

The warranty on refurbished Canon inkjet printers is only 90 days.  The print head included with this printer (QY6-0073-000) will also work in the Pixma iP3600, PiXMA MP620, and Canon Pixma MX860.

Click here for Newegg Pricing. Limit 5 per customer.

Want A New MX860?

Click here for a *new* Canon MX860 is available from Amazon for $30.00 more, plus free shipping ($99.99 delivered). The *new* Canon MX860 includes a full 1-year warranty.

Cartridges Used:

The Canon MX860 uses 5 individual ink cartridges – the “larger” PGI-220 black cartridge is for text, and the CLI-221 photo black gets used only when photos are being printed.

New Canon OEM cartridges will run $14-black, and $13-colors. Compatible cartridges can be had for $3-$4, and refilling is also an option on these tiny ink cartridges.

You can take a look at the PGI-220/CLI-221 cartridges here:

http://freedomtoprint.com/2009/03/30/review-canon-cli-221-pgi-220-inks-have-shrunk/

Canon Specifications Page:

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/printers_multifunction/office_all_in_one_inkjet_printers/pixma_mx860

Reviews:

http://reviews.cnet.com/multifunction-devices/canon-pixma-mx860/4505-3181_7-33529769.html

http://www.testfreaks.com/multi-functional-printers/canon-pixma-mx860/

See this printer in action:

Review: Inside The HP 74 (CB335W) Black Inkjet Print Cartridge (Cracked Open)

Cracked open – the HP 74 (CB335WN) inkjet print cartridge.

This is an older cartridge from Hewlett Packard, and it sheds some light on the multiple cartridge strategy HP (and all the other printer manufacturers) are now employing in full force (same cartridges, just differing amounts of ink, and different prices).  The HP 74 black ink cartridge looks like all the other HP ink cartridges (from the outside), but what does it look like on this inside of the ink cartridge?

This cartridge contains about 5ml of ink.  However, it has the room to  take much more ink – but then HP would have to raise that $14.99 price point (like they do on the larger, and “full” HP 74XL cartridge which has three (3) times the amount of ink but only costs $20.00 street.). The HP 74 represents a mistake by HP, and one of the last times HP released a “standard” cartridge with a full sized sponge.  The larger the sponge, the more ink the cartridge can take when refilling, or when re-manufacturing.  This is not good for HP’s consumption model marketing.  In HP’s future cartridge manufacturing – if the cartridge price is lower, the cartridge can be altered internally and include a smaller sponge (see inside the newer HP 60, and HP 901 black ink cartridges and you will see what we mean).

HP hewlett packard ink cartridge cover removed to reveal the internal structure of the HP 74 black inkjet print cartridge.

Specifications:

Color: Black
Part Number: CB335W – HP 74 Black
Ink Type: Pigment based ink
HP 74 Ink Volume: 3-5ml
Page Yield: 200 pages*

Ink Drop Size: 15pl

Retail price: $14.99
Street price: $13.18

* that 200 page estimate is from HP and based on 5% coverage (see what 5% coverage really looks like) – needless to say, manufacturer estimates are always on the “high side.”

This cartridge is often paired with the HP 75, or 75XL tri-color ink cartridge which we cracked open here.

A Refillers Dream – A New Reality:

Ink stop and cartridge world are not was well eastablished in the industry - goodbye consumer options.

This is the kind of cartridge that kept Cartridge World, and Ink Stop in business.  That is until inkstop went out of business.  This cartridge type is cheap to buy initially, however it runs out fast (40-100 pages at most).  Can be easily “over filled” reliably up to 2-3 times (maybe more, your mileage will vary)  with three times the amount of black ink the cartridge originally came with.  Better to get this cartridge refilled, or refill (400 pgs +), than to buy new (40-100 pgs).  No comparison really.

HP will fix this “problem” with the release of the HP 60, and HP 901 ink cartridges that have a smaller sponge, and space inside the cartridge blocked off – not feasible to refill.

HP is aware of the solution – working on another problem.

HP is not stupid.  We have heard rumors in the industry that the current “flagship” HP cartridge type (the HP 74 and to many otHewlett Packard HP 901, 901XL, XL Ink Cartridge Refillshers to list, but of the same design) cost HP over one Billion dollars to engineer.  The cartridge is flimsy, and designed to fail – it must not be easy to get engineers to design something to fail.  While the cartridge can be refilled, reliably, several times – great care must be given to the condition of the ink cartridge.

These cartridges must be refilled before they run out of ink – the contacts need to be kept from damage (think static discharge, dirt, and ink covering the contacts), and the print head needs to be kept clean.  These cartridge characteristics conspire against the casual refiller, and consumer demand for refill kits and refilled cartridges is low.  Garbage in = garbage out – if the cartridge is designed to fail, any additional use after the cartridge “runs dry” should be considered a bonus.

So what is under the label on the cartridge?

Cartridge design for the HP 74 black inkjet print cartridge.Pay special attention to the many holes and air-flow channels – that stuff is there for a reason.  This cartridge can be easily refilled with a bottle of ink and a simple syringe and needle.  The holes are already in the top of the cartridge.  No special tools needed to “drill” a hole in the top of the HP ink cartridge.

Three (3) barriers to simple refilling:

1: The pesky ink monitor.

Printers that use this cartridge series remember the last two cartridge serial numbers.  The cartridge can be re-used, however it will show as empty in the print monitor, and unless turned off, the user is prompted to replace the cartridge at every printing.  Very annoying when trying to print driving directions on the way out the door.

The printer “remembers” the current cartridge – plus one.  So to reset the ink monitor, three cartridges must be used. Hassle.

There are other ways around the ink monitor issue – press a series of buttons on the printer – but they vary by cartridge and by printer model number.

2: Failure of cartridge

If a cartridge is not refilled shortly *before* going empty (for this series of cartridge) the sponge can dry out, the print head can become clogged, or the contacts can get ink on them – or worse damaged.

There are just to many things that can go wrong for wide-scale acceptance.  Experienced refillers are aware of the limitations refilling presents, and take precautions.  First time refillers, or the “average consumer” might not be aware of these limitations and-or care.  A cartridge must work when called upon, and there is a price for reliability.  Sometimes the cartridge will not work period – or it fails after a short refilled life.  There are also cases of a refilled cartridge lasting “forever.”  The refilling game really is part know-how, but equal parts blind luck as no two cartridges are the same.

3: It’s messy.

There is the perception that refilling is messy, because It *can-be* if you are not sure of what you are doing. Frankly, sometimes it goes all wrong. The majority of the time it goes well, and with the savings i can buy a new pair of pants anyway.  A non-issue for committed refillers, a reason to take it to walgreens for some.

A look at the sponges tells the story:

Below we have the HP 74 black and HP 74xl black ink cartridge sponges.

See how little ink is in the HP 74 black ink cartridge when compared to the HP 74XL black inkjet print  (full of ink) cartridge.

The HP 74 black ink cartridge sponge compared to the HP 74XL black ink cartridge sponge. The 74XL sponge (and cartridge) is much larger.

For You Refillers:

Refilling is easy if you know where to put the refilling needle.  There are five (5) holes already in the cartridge lid which are covered up by the cartridge number sticker.  As you can see from the other images, there is black ink around only three (3) of the holes. We suggest using one of those three (3) holes since they are closer to the ink exit point.  All the other two holes  are there to confuse refillers.  This cartridge will hold around 18-21ml of ink, which is a good amount for a modern ink cartridge.

Hewlett Packard (HP) 74 black inkjet printer cartridge refill hole locations.

Compatible Cartridges:

HP 74, 74XL compatible ink cartridgesCompatible cartridges are an option here. Basically a re-manufactured (compatible) cartridge is just a professionally refilled, or “refilled for you” cartridge. The will run about 30%-40% less than HP brand ink cartridges, and if you can find a quality vendor, contrary to HPs claims the work great.

These re-manufactured cartridges will get cheaper as more become available in the aftermarket. When you buy a new printer, more often than not, it will include new cartridges, and until these cartridges make their way into the 3rd party cartridge re-manufacturers the price will be high. As the supply of quality empties increases, prices will decrease (in some cases by as much as 70%) and the compatible cartridge becomes a solid choice in the cost per page battle.

Contact! – Contact!

These solder points, or contacts help make up the print head.  Printers that use these types of cartridges do not have an internal print head – rather the print head is located on the cartridges themselves.  If print quality declines to the point where the cartridge is no longer usable, simply try another cartridge (it’s like getting a new printer).  If your cartridge cannot be recognized, give the contacts a quick clean with a damp cloth, or other device and try again.  If the contacts are harmed, the cartridge may not function at all.

HP 74 ink cartridge contacts - hp 74 printer ink carridge print head contacts.

The Print Head:

Unlike Epson, which makes the printhead part of the printer, Hewlett Packard (HP) puts the print head technology on the cartridge (for most of their consumer printers).  This means every time you buy a new cartridge, it’s like getting a new printer.  This is why these type of HP printers (that use this cartridge style) last forever in our opinion.  As long as the mechanics of the printer keep working it will last forever since the print head can simply be replaced by installing a new cartridge into the printer.

Not all HP printers and cartridges use this style (print head on the cartridge) of build, but a large majority of the ones you will find at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and other discount (online) retailers use these cartridges.

Notice the 2D UPC code on the print head ribbon.

HP 901 black inkjet print cartridge empty and opened up to expose internal structure of ink cartridge

Is this an embedded expiration date?

Yet another 2D UPC code on the outside front of the cartridge.  So that is 3 total on a single cartridge.  If (HP) Hewlett Packard went to the trouble of putting them on there, you can bet they are there for a reason.  HP claims there is no built-in “self-destruct” expiration date for their cartridges.  Read more about it here…

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01764161&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en

hp 74 black ink cartridge expiration date, serial number, and upc code

There is really no reason to ever buy this cartridge.  A quick check of Amazon reveals that the 74XL  cartridge (700 pages) will run you $27.99, or about twice what the HP 74 half full cartridge (200 pages) will cost you.  Ultimately, the best advice is to avoid this cartridge (and the printers that work with it) completely – if you print more than 100-200 pages per month.

HP 74 black (CB335WN) specifications:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06c/A10-12771-64199-69422-69422-3265895-3265896-3265901.html

HP 74 black (CB335W) page yield information:

http://h10060.www1.hp.com/pageyield/en-019/searchResults.html?cCode=us,st=cartridge,ss=CB335W

Compatible with the following HP inkjet printers:

The HP 74 works in a bunch of printers – check out the HP 74XL black ink, a much better value.
  • Deskjet D4200 Series
  • Deskjet D4260
  • Deskjet D4268
  • OfficeJet J5700
  • OfficeJet J5725
  • OfficeJet J5730
  • OfficeJet J5735
  • OfficeJet J5740
  • OfficeJet J5750
  • OfficeJet J5780
  • OfficeJet J5783
  • OfficeJet J5785
  • OfficeJet J5788
  • OfficeJet J5790
  • Photosmart C4200 Series
  • Photosmart C4205
  • Photosmart C4210
  • Photosmart C4240
  • Photosmart C4250
  • Photosmart C4270
  • Photosmart C4272
  • Photosmart C4273
  • Photosmart C4275
  • Photosmart C4280
  • Photosmart C4283
  • PhotoSmart C4285
  • PhotoSmart C4345
  • PhotoSmart C4380
  • PhotoSmart C4580
  • PhotoSmart C4599
  • Photosmart C5200 Series
  • Photosmart C5240
  • Photosmart C5250
  • Photosmart C5280
  • PhotoSmart C5540
  • PhotoSmart C5550
  • PhotoSmart C5580
  • PhotoSmart D5345
  • Photosmart D5360

Cartridges: “New” Epson Cartridge T124 “Alomst Empty” Ink Cartridges

Epson t124120, t124220, t124320, t124420 ink cartridges from Epson - very low amount of ink in this cartridge.New Cartridge – Epson T124 very low ink volume ink.

New printers from Epson means one thing, new cartridges.  Epson has released some new printers recently, and this cartridge (T124120, T124220, T124320, T124420) series contains about 3-5ml of ink and will be good for about 40 pages of color printing.  The black cartridge will last slightly longer if only text is printed.  These cartridges are a joke, and should be avoided at all costs.

The T124 cartridges are the same physical size and shape as the T125 cartridges, but the T124 is about one-third full.

The T124 series ink cartridges work with the following Epson AIO printers:

T124120, T124220, T124320, T124420 ink cartridges for the Epson Stylus NX125, NX127, NX420 wireless

These cartridges come in four (4) different colors:

These cartridges contain a very low amount of ink – look at the T088 Epson cartridge for what you are getting. Cartridges contain 3ml of ink, and are good for maybe 50 pages.

Epson stylus NX125, NX127, NX420 cartridges to avoid - the "half-full" T124 series ink cartridges.

Try to never purchase these cartridges (if you can help it) as they contain very low levels of ink (3ml-5ml) – look to the T125 series ink cartridges we profiled here as a better alternative.  The “more full” T125 series ink cartridges will run you $2.00-$3.00 more but contain twice the amount of ink as these “joke” cartridges.

Epson Stylus NX125 inkjet printer.

NX125

Epson Stylus NX127 inkjet printer.

NX127

Epson Stylus NX420 inkjet printer.

NX420

Cartridges: “New” Epson Ink Cartridge T125 Series

New Epson Ink Cartridge  – T125

Epson stylus ink cartridge T125120, T125220, T125320, T125420 ink cartridgesNew printers from Epson come with a secret feature – a new cartridge (T125 series ink cartridges).  There are four (4) flavors of these cartridges (t125) for Epson’s low-end 4-color all-in-ones like the:

The T125 series cartridges come in 4 flavors, black, cyan (blue), magenta (red), and yellow.

T125 series ink cartridges from Epson - Four (4) in the series.

Cartridges use durabrite pigment based ink resulting in durable inkjet prints.  These printers are fine, but they are identical in function to the previous generation (NX400, NX100, NX110, Workforce 500) of Epson printers, with the exception of wireless printing which is standard on the NX420, and Workforce 520 printers.  If wireless printing is not a big deal for you, then look at some of the other Epson offerings like the NX400, and Workforce 500. The older the printer, the more 3rd party printing choices there are out there.  New printers are impossible to work with – look for coupons and deals.

Pricing and part numbers from the Epson Website.

Epson pricing for the T125, T125120, T125220, T125320, T125420, inkjet print cartridges for the NX420 and others.

New cartridge = New chip.

A new cartridge means (2) two things for those looking for a compatible (cheaper) cartridge – a new chip, and new plastic cartridge molds. It also means that ink cartridges will be hard to find in the first 30-60 days (Epson) of release, and generic cartridges will arrive somewhere in the next 180 days (not available currently).  Epson is employing a two chip configuration on all their cartridges, so the T125 series are almost impossible to refill, and even harder to make “re-manufactured.” Compatible cartridges cannot be imported to the USA (thanks to a legal victory by Epson several years ago), so you will not be seeing compatible or generic cartridges at your local Staples, Office Depot, Target or Walmart.  Look online, and look in about 30-60 days.  If you need cartridges immediately, stay away from the T124 cartridges.

Theses cartridges are identical to their predecessors, but with a new chip, and new plastics to deal with, count on getting ripped off with Epson brand inks for the foreseeable future.

Printers that use the T125 series ink cartridge:

Epson Stylus NX125 inkjet printer.

NX125

Epson Stylus NX127 inkjet printer.

NX127

Epson Stylus NX420 inkjet printer.

NX420

Epson Workforce 520 inkjet printer.

WF 520

News: “New” Printers From Canon, Pixma MG5220, MP495, MG5120, MP280, iP4820

Canon Announces “New” Inkjet Printers.

New and improved inkjet printers from Canon?  Not really - welcome to new-old cartridges.Canon has introduced a new set of Pixma Inkjet printers. The Canon Pixma MG5220, Pixma MP495, Pixma MG5120, Pixma MP280, and the Canon Pixma iP4820.  Rest easy, no “new” major printing technology has been developed in the past several years, so these printers represent nothing more than “new” model numbers.  Oh, and new ink cartridges too (cli-226, and pgi-225)*.  There are two wireless printers in this bunch, the MG5220, and the MP495 – we currently have a love/hate relationship with wireless printing.

CLI-221 chip cartridge chips.  All Canon cartridges include a page count and ientifier chip on the end of the cartridgeNew designs, new cartridges…

These five (5) printers (MG5220, MP495, MG5120, MP280, iP4820) have some new plastics and design changes, but they are functionally the same as their predecessors.  There is some software included with these printers to let users print single frames of HQ video, and pictures can be downloaded and printed from Flickr (we could already do that right?).  Nothing major here, just an excuse to introduce a new cartridge series (PGI-225, and CLI-226 series cartridges), and to expand on the existing market for their “HP like” PG-210, and CL-211 inks cartridge series.

“Meet The New Canons”

Canon PIXMA MG5220 *Wireless* AIO (All-In-One) Inkjet Printer:

Canon mg5220 inkjet printer - Canon pixma mg5220 inkjet print cartridges.

Canon Pixma MG 5220 printer. Wireless.

Suprise! These printers use a new cartridge from Canon, the PGI-225 pigment black (larger black cartridge), and the CLI-226 color ink cartridges (including individual photo black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges).  These printers use 5 individual ink cartridges total.

Ink Tanks Used: PGI-225 Pigment Black CLI-226 (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/Black)

We expect these cartridges to look exactly like the current CLI-221 ink, and PGI-220 ink cartridges.  You can bet the chips on the end of the cartridge are different. Wireless printing is a nice feature in a home or small office with wireless laptops or other devices.

Canon PIXMA MG5120 AIO (All-In-One) Inkjet Printer:

Canon MG5120 inkjet printer from Canon - uses the PGI-225, and CLI-226 inkjet printer cartridges.

Canon Pixma MG5120 Inkjet Printer

Suprise! These printers use a new cartridge from Canon, the PGI-225 pigment black (larger black cartridge), and the CLI-226 color cartridges (including individual photo black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges).  These printers use 5 individual ink cartridges total. These “new” cartridges are the same physical size and shape as the previous cartridges used in this printer series [iP4200, iP4300, iP4500, iP4600, iP4700] the CLI-221, PGI-220] however now there are new chips to deal with, and your old cartridges will not work in this “new” printer.

Ink Tanks Used: PGI-225 Pigment Black CLI-226 (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/Black)

We expect these cartridges to look exactly like the current CLI-221, and PGI-220 cartridges.  You can bet the chips on the end of the cartridge are different.

Canon PIXMA iP4820 Inkjet Printer:

Just a printer.  Probably a really good one, but the Canon Pixma iP4700, and iP4600 are identical inside.

canon pixma iP4280 inkjet printer from Canon 7-20-09

Canon Pixma iP4820 Inkjet Printer.

Suprise! These printers use a new cartridge from Canon, the PGI-225 pigment black (larger black cartridge), and the CLI-226 color cartridges (including individual photo black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges).  These printers use 5 individual ink cartridges total. These “new” cartridges are the same physical size and shape as the previous cartridges used in this printer series [iP4200, iP4300, iP4500, iP4600, iP4700] the CLI-221, PGI-220, however now there are new chips to deal with, and your old cartridges will not work in this “new” printer.

Ink Tanks Used: PGI-225 Pigment Black CLI-226 (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/Black)

We expect these cartridges to look exactly like the current CLI-221, and PGI-220 cartridges.  You can bet the chips on the end of the cartridge are different.

Canon Pixma MP 280 (All-In-One) – $69.99

Canon pixma mp280 inkjet printer.

Canon Pixma mp280 - $69.99 list.

Cartridges used in the Canon Pixma mp280 include the 210/211 cartridges – stick with the XL version (full) of these cartridges:

Or The Full XL Cartridges:

This printer “does not” use individual ink cartridges. The black and color cartridges for this printer come in two different ink volumes, the standard fill (half full_ and the XL version of the cartridge (full).  The color cartridge (CL-221) has all three primary colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow) all in the same cartridge.  If you want a printer with individual ink tanks, check out the other offerings from Canon.

We are not big fans of single black and color cartridges with printers. Using a CISS, or CI system with OEM cartridges is a hassle as they ultimately wear out and need replacing.  Not a very aesthetically pleasing look.  On the other hand, individual ink tanks offer the possibility of CISS, CIS use, and generally have cheaper ink cartridge costs.

Canon PIXMA MP495 *Wireless* Photo AIO Printer:

Canon Pixma MP495 inkjet printer - used dual cartridges, not individual ink cartridges.

Canon Pixma MP495 Printer Wireless.

Cartridges used in the Canon Pixma mp280 include the 210/211 cartridges – stick with the XL version (full) of these cartridges:

Or The Full XL Cartridges:

The MP495 “does not” use individual ink cartridges. The black and color cartridges for this printer come in two different ink volumes, the standard fill (half full_ and the XL version of the cartridge (full).  The color cartridge (CL-221) has all three primary colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow) all in the same cartridge.  If you want a printer with individual ink tanks, check out the other offerings from Canon.

We are not big fans of single black and color cartridges with printers. Using a CISS, or CI system with OEM cartridges is a hassle as they ultimately wear out and need replacing.  Not a very aesthetically pleasing look.  On the other hand, individual ink tanks offer the possibility of CISS, CIS use, and generally have cheaper ink cartridge costs.

Press release here:

Review: Inside The HP 75XL, 75 XL Tri-Color (Color) Inkjet Print Cartridge (Cracked Open)

A look inside the HP 75XL tri-color (color) inkjet print cartridge.

The HP 75XL tri-color (color) ink cartridge is the “full” 75 color cartridge from Hewlett Packard that works in a variety of Officejet and Photosmart  inkjet printers. HP also offers a “half-full” version of this cartridge for $20-$25, simply the HP 75.  The HP 75XL is a good cartridge for the occasional printer and the cartridge can be had for $20 for the HP brand.  If printing at your location is 50-100 pages per month (no pictures), this cartridge is probably not a bad choice.  There are many other terrible choices (HP 92, HP 93, HP 60), and for the occasional photo, or documents in the 50-100 per month range, you could do much worse.

Look for printers that use the HP 74XL, and 75XL (often paired – black, color).  A good compromise for occasional printing.

HP 75XL, 75 XL tri-color ink cartridge.

Sponges are soaked in this cartridge.

A substantial amount of ink (in inkjet printer cartridge terms) is in these cartridges.  The sponges are full of ink.  The lid was (is) stuck on tight, so evaporation should be minimal. Refilling very easy with this cartridge, holes are already in the lid – covered by the cartridge identification number sticker.

HP Hewlett Packard - 75xl tri-color (color) ink cartridge.

Specifications:

Color: Black
Part Number: (CB338WN) – HP 75XL
Ink Type: Dye based color ink
Page Yield: 750 pages*

Ink Drop Size: 5pl

Retail price: $40.99
Street price: $19.99

* that 750 page estimate is from HP and based on 5% coverage (see what 5% coverage really looks like) – needless to say, manufacturer estimates are on the “high side.”

This cartridge is often paired with the HP 74 black, and 74XL black inkjet print cartridge which we cracked open here.

Cartridge Contacts

These solder points, or contacts help make up the print head. Printers that use these types of cartridges do not have an internal print head – rather the print head is located on the cartridges themselves. If print quality declines to the point where the cartridge is no longer usable, simply try another cartridge (it’s like getting a new printer). If your cartridge cannot be recognized, give the contacts a quick clean with a damp cloth, or other device and try again. If the contacts are harmed, the cartridge may not function at all.

HP 75xl tri-color ink cartridge print head contacts - keep them clean to refill your cartridge.

For Refillers:

Refilling is easy if you know where to fill. There are five (5) holes in the cartridge lid. As you can see from the other images, there is black ink around all five (5) of the holes. We suggest using the top most hole since it is closer to where the ink will exit the cartridge. Refill kits can be a hassle, but are worth it if you are on a tight budget and have patience.

HP 75xl color tri-color ink cartridge

HP 75xl color tri-color ink cartridge location of colors inside cartridge.

Is this an embedded expiration date?

Yet another 2D UPC code on the outside front of the cartridge. So that is 3 total on a single cartridge. If (HP) Hewlett Packard went to the trouble of putting them on there, you can bet they are there for a reason. HP claims there is no built-in “self-destruct” expiration date for their cartridges. Read more about it here…

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01764161&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en

HP 75xl expiration date silk screened onto the cartridge - HP.com website says this is no big deal.

HP 75 And HP 75XL Compared:

There really is no comparison. The HP 75 black ink cartridge (on the left), or the “standard” cartridge as HP refers to it has two things wrong with it. First, the sponge is one-sixth the size as the 75 XL, and it is contained in a plastic divide to deter refillers.  Second, you can refill it, but look at what little ink the mini-sponge will take. The HP 75 “standard” cartridge will require constant attention to maintain it’s “full” status.

The HP 74 retails for $14.99, and the HP 74XL retails for around $33.99, but deals can be had on this older cartridge. If you print more than 50 pages per month, do yourself a favor and stick with the XL cartridges – they have more ink and are more re-fillable, and are a better cost per page value.

HP 74 black and HP 75XL tri-color ink cartridges compared.

HP 75xl color tri-color inkjet print cartridge compared t0 HP 74 black ink cartridge.

Tip – a better value is the HP 74XL black (21ml).  The HP 74 black ink cartridge contains a measly 5ml of ink.

Large capacity ink cartridges from HP - the HP 74XL black ink cartridge compared with the HP 75xl tri-color (color) ink cartridge.

HP 74xl (full) black ink cartridge compared to the HP 75xl tri-color ink color cartridge

Refill kits are available:

HP 75xl tri-color, color ink cartridge refill.As you can see from the images, this cartridge is very easy to refill. One negative to refilling is that the ink monitor will no longer function, so it is impossible to tell when the ink is going to run out. This is not a huge deal as the cartridge can be topped off every so often – never let a cartridge run all the way out. If the sponge can get dry, and if ink stops flowing properly the cartridge will not provide an acceptable print.

The HP 75XL cartridge is rated at 560 pages, so that equates to about 21ml of ink (7ml per color). The sponge is not all the way soaked as received from HP, however count on the cartridge taking at least 7ml of each color ink.  Refill kits are easy to use, and result in $3.00-$4.00 cartridges.

Compatible Cartridges:

HP 74, 74XL compatible ink cartridgesCompatible cartridges are an option for this cartridge. Basically a re-manufactured (compatible) cartridge is just a professionally refilled, or “refilled for you” cartridge. The will run about 30%-40% less than HP brand ink cartridges, and if you can find a quality vendor, contrary to HPs claims the work great.

These re-manufactured cartridges will get cheaper as more become available in the aftermarket. When you buy a new printer, more often than not, it will include new cartridges, and until these cartridges make their way into the 3rd party cartridge re-manufacturers the rice will be high. As the supply of quality empties increases, prices will decrease (in some cases by as much as 70%) and the compatible cartridge becomes a solid choice in the cost per page battle. Animated gif goodness.

Refilling HP ink cartridges - HP inkjet print cartridge refill locations for color HP 75xl tri-color ink carridge

The Print Head:

The printhead *will* wear out or get clogged, its just a matter of time. There is no hard data, but the accepted rule is a cartridge can be refilled 3-4 times before it needs to be replaced with a new one. A new “full” cartridge purchase is not always necessary (74XL retails for $. Empties can be had for cheap on eBay, so look there. Also check Amazon for a good selection of prices.

Unlike Epson, which makes the printhead part of the printer, Hewlett Packard (HP) puts the print head technology on the physical cartridge (for 80% of their consumer printers). This means every time you buy a new cartridge, it’s like getting a new print head. This is why these type of HP printers (that use this cartridge style) last forever in our opinion. As long as the mechanics of the printer keep working it will last forever since the print head can simply be replaced by installing a new cartridge into the printer.

Not all HP printers and cartridges use this style (print head on the cartridge) of build, but a large majority of the ones you will find at Wal-Mart, Target, and other discount retailers use these cartridges.

Notice the 2D UPC code on the print head ribbon. They are actually in three places on the cartridge – the top label, the print head, and on the front facing side (expiration).

HP 75XL printhead for inkjet print cartridge.

Hewlett Packard (HP) 75XL tri-color (color) ink cartridge page estimates:

http://h10060.www1.hp.com/pageyield/en-019/searchResults.html?cCode=us,st=cartridge,ss=CB338W

Hewlett Packard (HP) 75XL tri-color (color) inkjet print cartridge specifications:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06c/A10-12771-64199-69422-69422-3266753-3266779-3266784.html

This cartridge is compatible with the following HP Deskjet, Officejet, and Photosmart inkjet printers:

Cartridges: New Canon Ink Cartridges – CLI-226 Colors, PGI-225 Black

“Augmenting” the Canon ink cartridge line.

CLI ink cartridges from Canon have not really changed much over the life of the ink cartridge.

When any printer manufacturer releases new printers, it usually means new cartridges too.  Welcome the new CLI-226, and PGI-225 ink cartridges from Canon.

Pay me now consumerThis *also* means if you plan on “upgrading” in the next 6-8 months, make sure to use up all your current ink cartridges.  Canon invented the individual ink tank market with the old BCI-6, and BCI-3 ink cartridges – which were Canon’s flagship cartridge(s) for over 6 years.  Fast forward to 2010, and aggressive revenue generating plans have resulted in Canon releasing three (3) – three! – new ink cartridges in the past 3 years. The cartridges are ink tanks, nothing more; there is no “great technology” on the cartridge itself, so there is practically no reason to change the cartridge. Unless…the prevalence of compatible cartridge usage, refilling, and other 3rd party inking methods are getting more popular, and more widely accepted. Just asking.

Smart LED with Canon logo to let you know it’s installed correctly.

Should really read – special “microchip” attached so we can punish consumers by rendering the ink monitor useless if you want to refill your cartridge, and using scare tactics when it comes to 3rd party solutions.

Downgrading of the Canon ink cartridge

So the CLI-8 and PGI-5 cartridges needed “downgrading” by Canon to the CLI-221 and PGI-220 (very tiny) ink cartridges.  We now must welcome the CLI-226 and PGI-225 cartridges to the fold.  They look the same, act the same, and perform the same function as their predecessors. To bad the plastics are keyed differently and different chips are used.  No word on chip resetters for these cartridges.

PGI-225, and CLI-226 ink cartridges available on the Canon eStore:

Canon cli-225, and cli-226 inkjet print cartridges for the Pixma iP4280.

The PGI-225 pigment black (larger black cartridge), and the CLI-226 color cartridges (including individual photo black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges).

New cartridges include the following.  The printers in this series typically use five (5) individual ink cartridges – the larger black cartridge (PGI-225) contains 19ml of pigment based black ink. The “colors” (CLI-226) which includes a photo black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridge contain 9ml ink, and are physically smaller than the PGI-225 cartridge.

Ink Tanks: PGI-225 Pigment Black CLI-226 (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/Black)

Seems reasonable at first glance, but what about when you make a set – that is over $50.00 for a set of ink (essentially a black and color cartridge) – look at what they did the last time Canon changed cartridges:

New CLI-220 Canon cartridges are MUCH smaller than the previous CLI-8 series.

These cartridges are compatible with the following Canon inkjet printers:

Expect there to be shortages on these cartridges when these printers first hit the market in full.

Review – Opening The HP 74XL 74 XL (Full) Inkjet Print Cartridge (Cracked Open)

A look inside the HP 74XL black inkjet print cartridge.

A look inside the internal structure of an HP inkjet cartridge.  The HP 74XL cartridge is physically larger than the HP 74, or even the HP 75XL inkjet print cartridges.  It contains 21ml of ink, and is one of the best “cartridges” to use.  Cost per page printing is much improved with the HP 74XL ink cartridge from HP.  Look around for pricing – this is an older cartridge, and the $34.99 retail price can be beat.

Retail price for the HP 74XL inkjet print cartridge - black.

The HP 74XL inkjet print cartridge looks the same as the HP 96 (no XL designation but it was *the* cartridge to have not to long ago). The cartridge is physically larger than the cheaper (and about one-third the ink) HP 74 black ink cartridge, which we cracked open here.

Removing the top cover of the HP 74xl large black ink cartridge - a look at the internal structure of an inkjet printer cartridge.

Specifications:

Color: Black
Part Number: (CB336WN) – HP 74XL
Ink Type: Pigment based ink
Page Yield: 750 pages*

Ink Drop Size: 15pl

Retail price: $34.99
Street price: $19.99

* that 750 page estimate is from HP and based on 5% coverage (see what 5% coverage really looks like) – needless to say, manufacturer estimates are on the “high side.”

This cartridge is often paired with the HP 75, and 75XL tri-color inkjet print (color) cartridge which we cracked open here.

HP 74XL ink cartridge opened with lid off to reveal the internal structure of the cartridge.

Cartridge Contacts

These solder points, or contacts help make up the print head.  Printers that use these types of cartridges do not have an internal print head – rather the print head is located on the cartridges themselves.  If print quality declines to the point where the cartridge is no longer usable, simply try another cartridge (it’s like getting a new printer).  If your cartridge cannot be recognized, give the contacts a quick clean with a damp cloth, or other device and try again.  If the contacts are harmed, the cartridge may not function at all.

HP 74xl black inkjet print cartridge print head contacts.

For Refillers:

Refilling is easy if you know where to fill.  There are seven (7) holes in the cartridge lid.  As you can see from the other images, there is black ink around all five (5) of the holes. We suggest using the top most hole since it is closer to where the ink will exit the cartridge. Refill kits can be a hassle, but are worth it if you are on a tight budget and have patience.

Refill holes for the HP 74XL black inkjet print cartridge.

Is this an embedded expiration date?

Yet another 2D UPC code on the outside front of the cartridge.  So that is 3 total on a single cartridge.  If (HP) Hewlett Packard went to the trouble of putting them on there, you can bet they are there for a reason.  HP claims there is no built-in “self-destruct” expiration date for their cartridges.  Read more about it here…

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01764161&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en

HP 74xl inkjet print cartridge expiration date on the actual cartridge itself!

HP 74 And HP 74XL Compared:

There really is no comparison.  The HP 74 black ink cartridge (on the left), or the “standard” cartridge as HP refers to it has two things wrong with it.  First, the sponge is one-sixth the size as the 74XL, and it is contained in a plastic divide to deter refillers.  Second, you can refill it, but look at what little ink the mini-sponge will take.  The HP 74 cartridge will require constant attention to maintain it’s “full” status.

The HP 74 retails for $14.99, and the HP 74XL retails for around $33.99.  If you print more than 50 pages per month, do yourself a favor and stick with the XL cartridges – they have more ink and are more re-fillable.

HP 74XL and HP 74 black ink cartridges compared.  HP 74XL is the way to go over the smaller HP 74 ink cartridge.

Refill kits are available:

Hewlett Packard HP 74, 74XL, XL Ink Cartridge Refills

As you can see from the images, this cartridge is very easy to refill. One negative to refilling is that the ink monitor will no longer function, so it is impossible to tell when the ink is going to run out. This is not a huge deal as the cartridge can be topped off every so often – never let a cartridge run all the way out. If the sponge can get dry, and if ink stops flowing properly the cartridge will not provide an acceptable print.

The HP 74XL cartridge is rated at XXX pages, so that equates to about 18ml of ink. The sponge is not all the way soaked as received from HP, however count on thee cartridge taking at least 18ml of ink. Refill kits are easy to use, and result in $3.00-$4.00 cartridges.

Compatible Cartridges:

HP 74, 74XL compatible ink cartridgesCompatible cartridges are an option for this cartridge. Basically a re-manufactured (compatible) cartridge is just a professionally refilled, or “refilled for you” cartridge. The will run about 30%-40% less than HP brand ink cartridges, and if you can find a quality vendor, contrary to HPs claims the work great.

These re-manufactured cartridges will get cheaper as more become available in the aftermarket. When you buy a new printer, more often than not, it will include new cartridges, and until these cartridges make their way into the 3rd party cartridge re-manufacturers the rice will be high. As the supply of quality empties increases, prices will decrease (in some cases by as much as 70%) and the compatible cartridge becomes a solid choice in the cost per page battle.

The Print Head:

The printhead *will* wear out or get clogged, its just a matter of time. There is no hard data, but the accepted rule is a cartridge can be refilled 3-4 times before it needs to be replaced with a new one. A new “full” cartridge purchase is not always necessary (74XL retails for $34.99. Empties can be had for cheap on eBay, so look there).  Also check Amazon for a good selection of prices.

Unlike Epson, which makes the printhead part of the printer, Hewlett Packard (HP) puts the print head technology on the physical cartridge (for 80% of their consumer printers).  This means every time you buy a new cartridge, it’s like getting a new print head.  This is why these type of HP printers (that use this cartridge style) last forever in our opinion.  As long as the mechanics of the printer keep working it will last forever since the print head can simply be replaced by installing a new cartridge into the printer.

Not all HP printers and cartridges use this style (print head on the cartridge) of build, but a large majority of the ones you will find at Wal-Mart, Target, and other discount retailers use these cartridges.

Notice the 2D UPC code on the print head ribbon. They are actually in three places on the cartridge – the top label, the print head, and on the front facing side (expiration).

HP 74xl black inkjet print cartridge, print head.

Hewlett Packard (HP) 74XL black ink cartridge page estimates:

http://h10060.www1.hp.com/pageyield/en-019/searchResults.html?cCode=us,st=cartridge,ss=CB336W

Hewlett Packard (HP) 74XL black inkjet print cartridge specifications:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06c/A10-12771-64199-69422-69422-3265895-3266274-3266279.html

This cartridge is compatible with the following HP Deskjet, Officejet, and Photosmart inkjet printers:

Cracked Open: Inside The HP 940 (C4902A) Ink Cartridge

Inside the HP 940 black ink tank cartridge.

Retail price of the HP 940 standard capacity ink cartridge.

Not a good buy - Check the HP 940XL - 3x's the amount of ink.

First off – look at this cartridge all you want, but buy the HP 940XL black – same cartridge, but “full” of ink.

The 940 cartridge from Hewlett  Packard (HP) comes in two different flavors.  The half-full 940 black ink tank, and the “full” HP 940XL black ink tank.  The 940 cartridges contain a very low amount of ink (22ml black – 10ml color) when compared to the 940XL which is completely full and contains a whopping 49ml of ink (16ml XL colors).

The HP 940 (which would include the entire 940 and 940XL series inkjet print cartridges for that matter), cartridge is not refillable (at least *we* do not see how it can be refilled).  There is a foil pouch inside the cartridge that compresses as the ink is used, and there is no obvious way to refill the cartridge.

This cartridge could also be called an ink tank, because that is exactly what it is – an ink holder.  There is no “revolutionary” technology on the cartridge, it simply holds ink.  The 940 series are basically the exact same cartridge design as the HP 88 series.

HP 940 – Black 22ml (1k pages)  $25.99

HP 940XL – Black 49ml (2.2k pages) $35.99*

*Can be had for less.  Much better cost per page rates with the XL cartridge.

Different type of HP cartridge – the ink tank:

HP 940 and HP 60 ink cartridges compared side by side 940 vs 60 print inks

These cartridges contain about the same amount of ink (940 16ml, 60xl 18ml est.)

The HP 940 series cartridges will only work in a select few printers, and consider yourself lucky if you own an HP (Hewlett Packard) Officejet 8000, or 8500.  You will still pay a premium for cartridges, however there are worse printers on the market – watch out on the ink.  As mentioned above, always get the XL black cartridge – a much better value.

The HP 940 is basically an ink tank.  There is no printhead on the cartridge (those are tucked inside the printer and must be replaced at about 10k pages print head).  Recently we have seen a few postings around the web discussing defective print heads – no matter the ink (HP original or compatible cartridges)  – so count on the print heads going out at least once.  They retail for $60.00 each ($120.00 total) so if you see them for less, pick some up.

Since all the hard work is done inside the printer – by the print heads – this cartridge is good at what it does, holding ink. The cartridge is entertaining to see dis-assembled for all of the engineering on the cartridge that is directed at making simple refilling impossible.

Simple Refill – Prevention:

Refill prevention is built into the cartridge with two distinct techniques.  One, a non resettable chip prevents “simple” re-use of the cartridge.  Currently there are no (none, zero, nada) HP 940 chip resetters on the market, so the chip cannot be reset.  Use of an “expired” chip in the printer is ok, and the cartridge will still function in the printer, however the ink levels will always be shown as empty.

Bottom side of the HP 940, 940XL, XL inkjet print cartridge - ink tank.

The chip can be moved to a full cartridge

Not easy – you need an xact-o knife, or something very sharp.  Do *not* mess around with a screwdriver as it will damage the chip.  If the chip becomes damaged it will no longer be recognized by the printer, and thus useless.  The chip on the HP 940 series looks identical to that of the HP 564 series we looked at here.

HP 940 back ink cartridge close-up of chip to be removed for use on chipless compatible

Chip is in there very tight. Use sharp and thin tool to remove.

Removing the bottom cover on the HP 940 Officejet Pro 8000, 8500 ink cartridge.

Removing the plastic cover from the bottom of the cartridge is easy enough – just cut the label where it covers the obvious seams – grasp with a firm hand, and it pops right off.  The internals of the cartridge can be removed (none of this helps to be able to refill the cartridge) – press the two tabs in, and the cartridge assembly slides right out.

HP 940 series black ink cartridge internal structure.  Internal parts on the HP 940 un-refillable ink cartridge.

HP 940 series black ink cartridge internal structure. Internal parts on the HP 940 un-refillable ink cartridge. Tabs.

Removing the cartridge assembly:

Internal ink container for the HP 940 series black inkjet print cartridge from Hewlett Packard.

All that is left is an empty shell.

Once the ink assembly has been removed, all that is left is the empty carcass of the HP 940 black ink cartridge.

HP 940 black ink cartridge empty shell.

HP 940 black ink cartridge empty shell.

Inside the HP 940 ink cartridge.

This cartridge is empty, all the ink has been sucked out of the internal pouch. the cartridge looks pressurized as the plastic covering has collapsed around the empty pouch.  The Black HP 940 cartridge contains 16ml of ink.  In contrast, the HP 940XL cartridge (same size and shape as this cartridge) contains 49ml of ink.

The cartridge could possibly be re-filled through the black ink exit hole (self sealing) with a needle and syringe, however not sure of the gauge required, and it would (maybe) be easy to puncture the internal bladder.

HP 940 black ink cartridge internal structure of the cartridge - can this 940 black ink cartridge be refilled?

HP 940 black ink cartridge internal structure of the cartridge - can this 940 black ink cartridge be refilled?

Cartridge not (easily) refillable…

We guess you could stick a refill needle where the ink exits the cartridge – self sealing access.

Inside the foil package there is a black pouch.  The foil like plastic is stuck to the black pouch with a very sticky backing.  It was very hard to get the two layers apart. Not really necessary to do this, however it is interesting to see that the pouch is “double sealed.”

HP 940 black ink cartridge internal structure foil pouch covers internal black pouch.

Cartridge Specifications (HP.com):

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06c/A10-12771-64199-69422-69422-3777779-3777780-3777786.html

Page yield information about this cartridge series:

http://h10060.www1.hp.com/pageyield/en-019/yields/OJP8000A809_page.html?cCode=us

Since the 940XL black cartridge is a better choice click here to, compare prices on the HP 940XL ink cartridges.

Deal: HP Oficejet 8000 $55.00 Delivered – HP.com Website

Hewlett Packard Officejet 8000 injet printer on sale at the HP.com website

Most economical inkjet printer you can get? Has a black cartridge that is 49ml (940xl)

Officejet 8500 only $55.00

On the HP.com website, you can get the Officejet 8000 inkjet printer – with free shipping – for a low $79.99 after two $50.00 instant rebates – via this link – Use coupon code SVMB39487 to get an additional $25.00 off making the net price $54.99. Free ground Shipping.

Some of the gripes have been – its big, and loud. The SVMB39487 coupon code has restrictions.  It is $25 off $125 or more, and it expires 8-1-10.

Know what you are getting into:

A set of full cartridges (XL) will run $113, and a set of replacement print heads will run around $120.00.  Take a look inside this cartridge (940) here.

Full set of HP 940xl ink cartridges from the HP.com website.

Link:
http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/product_detail.do?product_code=C9297A%23B1H&aoid=35252

Good deal?

This is a good deal for the ink and print heads alone.  Included with the printer are 4 ink cartridges (940 series “half-full”), and more importantly there are two brand new print heads which retail for $59.00 each!

Print head pricing for the HP 940 series ink cartridge printers (Officejet 8000, officejet 8500)

HP Print Heads – HP 940 (Officejet 8000, Officejet 8500)

HP 940 Black and Yellow print head for HP Officejet

C4900A - HP Black and Yellow Printhead $59.99 list.

C4901A - HP Cyan and Magenta Printhead $59.99.

What you might not know about the printheads on this printer series is that there is a warranty usage limit of 560ml. After that, the printheads are out of warranty no matter the warranty status. Translation, if you print a bunch, there is a guarantee that HP will not warranty the printheads beyond the 560ml target.

Let’s take the HP 940 black and yellow printhead. Using the XL cartridges as a benchmark (49ml+16ml = 65ml) that would be around 8-9 cartridges used until the printheads are considered out of warranty (10-17k pages). You can see HP’s explanation here – http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00206040&tmp_task=prodinfoCategory&lc=en&dlc=es&cc=pe&product=3564605&lang=es

So really consider your printing habits before purchasing any type of “extended warranty” for this printer series. If you plan on using a CIS, or CISS system with this printer (perfect candidate) the printheads will still need to be replaced at some point.

Review: Inside (Cracked Open) The HP 901 (CC653A) Black Inkjet Print Cartridge

The internal structure of the HP 901 (CC653AN) black inkjet print cartridge.

Retail price on this cartridge is $14.99.  If you can afford it, check out the HP 901XL (901 XL) black “full” cartridge.  The HP 901 cartridge has the same basic structure as the HP 60 (which is also designed to be half empty) – the cartridge is designed to be over half empty – note the presence of a reduced sized internal chamber for the sponge which makes this cartridge not practical for refilling.  Why pay to refill a “designed to be half-empty” cartridge.

Lots of empty space in the HP 901 black cartridge:

hp 901 ink cartridge empty space.

Places you will find no ink. Cannot be refilled area.

Not a good cartridge for refilling or re-manufacturing:

The HP 901 ink cartridge – designed from the beginning to be half-empty, and cannot be refilled to maximum capacity.  The sponge (white space) is sealed off from the rest of the cartridge.  The bottom of the cartridge where the print head is located is hollow.  This cheap ($14.99) cartridge is two things – hard to maintain refilled as the cartridge only lasts for an HP estimated 200 pages.  Pathetic. The second issue is the principal of the thing; don’t block-off parts of the cartridge to discourage refillers, and don’t lead the consumer to believe that they are getting a “full” cartridge when purchased.  Did you think your HP 901 black ink cartridge was full? Well think again!

HP hewlett packard 901 black inkjet print cartridge designed to be half empty.

The HP 901 black cartridge is designed to be over half empty.

The Price Is Cheap?

Think Hewlett Packard (HP) did this on accident?  This would make paying $10-$15 to refill this cartridge a complete waste of cash (since the retail price is $14.99 for the HP 901 black ink.  If you must use this cartridge series, look to the HP 901XL black inkjet print cartridge which results in a much cheaper cost per printed page.  Remember the HP 901XL black has about 2.5 times the amount of ink as the standard 901 black.

HP 901 black inkjet print cartridge - retail price from HP's website.

HP 901 black inkjet print cartridge - retail price from HP's website.

An insult to consumers.

When you purchase the above ink cartridge is it reasonable to think that the cartridge does not have “refilling” defeating measures (very small sponge).  The price is cheap, but alas, you get what you pay for.  Part of HPs new ink cartridge strategy – “you can pay us now, or you can pay us now.”

HP 901 cartridge highlights:

Uses durable pigment based inks.  Pigment inks will clog inkjet printers – a fact of life – so basically replacing the print head with every cartridge is a good application.  Pigment inks are noted for their longevity, and resistance to smearing, however they will eventually hopelessly clog the print head.  Since the print head is on the cartridge, the “heads” are replaced every time you replace the cartridge with a new one.

HP 901 black inkjet printer cartridge opened and exposed to reveal the internal structure of the ink cartridge

Specifications:

Color: Black
Part Number: CC653AN – HP 901 Black
Ink Type: Pigment based ink
HP 901 Ink Volume: 3-5ml
Page Yield: 200 pages*

Ink Drop Size: 15pl

Retail price: $14.99
Street price: $13.18

* that 200 page estimate is from HP and based on 5% coverage (see what 5% coverage really looks like) – needless to say, manufacturer estimates are always on the “high side.”

This cartridge is often paired with the HP 901 tri-color ink cartridge which we cracked open here.  Note while there is an HP 901XL (full) black cartridge available – there is no “full” color cartridge (901 XL tri-color does not exist), only the HP 901 tri-color cartridge is available.

For Refillers:

Refilling is easy if you know where to put the refilling needle.  There are five (5) holes already in the cartridge lid which are covered up by the cartridge number sticker.  As you can see from the other images, there is black ink around only one (1) of the holes. We suggest using the middle hole since it is the only one that goes directly into the sponge.  All the other holes are there to confuse refillers. Refill kits can be a hassle, but are worth it if you are on a tight budget and have a cartridge that will only take 3-5ml of ink.

Where to refill the HP 901 black inkjet print cartridge -  top three holes are where to refill the HP 901 black ink cartridge

Hewlett Packard HP 901, 901XL, XL Ink Cartridge Refills
Refill kits are available:

This cartridge is not the greatest candidate for refilling – it has a small sponge,  and unless you know where to fill ink can go where there is no sponge. One negative to refilling is that the ink monitor will no longer function, so it is impossible to tell when the ink is going to run out. Never let a cartridge, you hope to refill, run all the way out of ink. If the sponge gets dry, and if ink stops flowing properly the cartridge will not provide an acceptable print after refilling.

The HP 901 cartridge is rated at 200 (we have experienced 100 pages or less) pages, so that equates to about 5ml of ink. The sponge is not all the way soaked as received from HP, however count on the 901 black cartridge taking at least 5ml of ink. Refill kits are easy to use, and result in $3.00-$4.00 cartridges.  If you are serious about refilling, the HP 901XL black inkjet print cartridge is a much better choice as it has a complete sponge.

Compatible Cartridges:

HP 74, 74XL compatible ink cartridgesCompatible cartridges are an option for this cartridge. Basically a re-manufactured (compatible) cartridge is just a professionally refilled, or “refilled for you” cartridge. The will run about 30%-40% less than HP brand ink cartridges, and if you can find a quality vendor, contrary to HPs claims the work great.

These re-manufactured cartridges will get cheaper as more become available in the aftermarket. When you buy a new printer, more often than not, it will include new cartridges, and until these cartridges make their way into the 3rd party cartridge re-manufacturers the price will be high. As the supply of quality empties increases, prices will decrease (in some cases by as much as 70%) and the compatible cartridge becomes a solid choice in the cost per page battle.

Contact! – Contact!

These solder points, or contacts help make up the print head.  Printers that use these types of cartridges do not have an internal print head – rather the print head is located on the cartridges themselves.  If print quality declines to the point where the cartridge is no longer usable, simply try another cartridge (it’s like getting a new printer).  If your cartridge cannot be recognized, give the contacts a quick clean with a damp cloth, or other device and try again.  If the contacts are harmed, the cartridge may not function at all.

Solder points - contact points for the HP 901 black inkjet printer cartridge

Notice more designed empty space.

The Print Head:

Unlike Epson, which makes the printhead part of the printer, Hewlett Packard (HP) puts the print head technology on the cartridge (for most of their consumer printers).  This means every time you buy a new cartridge, it’s like getting a new printer.  This is why these type of HP printers (that use this cartridge style) last forever in our opinion.  As long as the mechanics of the printer keep working it will last forever since the print head can simply be replaced by installing a new cartridge into the printer.

Not all HP printers and cartridges use this style (print head on the cartridge) of build, but a large majority of the ones you will find at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and other discount (online) retailers use these cartridges.

Notice the 2D UPC code on the print head ribbon.

HP 901 black inkjet print cartridge empty and opened up to expose internal structure of ink cartridge

Is this an embedded expiration date?

Yet another 2D UPC code on the outside front of the cartridge.  So that is 3 total on a single cartridge.  If (HP) Hewlett Packard went to the trouble of putting them on there, you can bet they are there for a reason.  HP claims there is no built-in “self-destruct” expiration date for their cartridges.  Read more about it here…

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01764161&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en

HP 901 black inkjet printer cartridge for HP printers

Compatible With:

HP 901 black (cc653A) specifications and warranty info:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06c/A10-12771-64199-69422-69422-3565316-3565318-3565482.html

HP 901 black (CC653A) page yield info:

http://h10060.www1.hp.com/pageyield/en-019/searchResults.html?cCode=us,st=cartridge,ss=CC653A

There is really no reason to ever buy this cartridge.  A quick check of Amazon reveals that the 901 XL cartridge (700 pages) will run you $27.99, or about twice what the HP 901 half full cartridge (200 pages) will cost you.  Ultimately, the best advice is to avoid this cartridge (and the printers that work with it) completely.